Coping with Divorce: The Spider and The Bee:

Subject Matter: Coping with Divorce

The Spider and The Bee

by Michele Shen

Reviewed by Laura Pickford Ramirez

"The Spider and The Bee" is a delightful tale designed to help children who are coping with divorce. In the story, children learn how difficult it is for creatures with different natures to create a satisfying life together. At the beginning, a spider and a bee meet and fall in love. Although this would never happen in the natural world, we accept the premise because we know that humans with very different personalities often fall in love, only to discover later that they don't share enough in common to sustain their marriage.

"The Spider and The Bee" offers children insights into why creatures (and people) of different natures may love each other, but cannot live together. Although it explains this simply and eloquently, it does not reveal the qualities that attracted these two creatures in the first place. Despite this, it illustrates their break-up as a mutual realization of incompatibility, without the usual accompanying blame or shame.

While this book is a simple and effective tool for teaching children why people who still care for each other may be unwilling to stay together, it is billed as a book to help children coping with divorce. Unfortunately, this is where the story fails. The reason for this is obvious: there is no character in the story with whom a child can identify. The story lacks the most essential ingredient in engaging and giving perspective on a child's experience coping with divorce because it has no baby spider-bee.

Although "The Spider and The Bee" was meant for children, this is one of those cases in which a children's story works better for adults. In fact, this is an area in which this book can shine: by offering simple, but sage advice to those considering the altar or coping with divorce. Sometimes information presented in a simple format is the best means for creating a much-needed realization. For instance, "The Spider and The Bee" would prove meaningful for young adults, who are contemplating marriage. It would also make a comforting gift for a friend, who has recently gone through a painful separation or is dealing with divorce. At only $9.95, it is an affordable and thoughtful gift.

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